1. Sitia Beach, September 2012. The port town of Sitia, built on the side of a hill and overlooking a wide, open harbour, sits quietly in the northeast of Crete. Tourism here is wonderfully low-key, from the modest collection of tavernas and cafes lining the promenade to its spotless beach right in the town itself. There were barely a handful of people sunning themselves on Sitia’s sands each day, though that didn’t stop an entrepreneurial local from serving drinks, snacks and indeed main meals right to your deck chair. Perfect.
2. Sitia Harbour, September 2012. Things tend to move pretty slowly in Crete and Sitia seems to take the art to a whole new level. The harbour was always deserted and silent, its collection of handsome boats feeling more like model toys that actual functioning vessels. The only action I caught during my daily walks was this chilled out fisherman hoping to stock up his restaurant fridge.
3. Hillside Street, September 2012. A relaxing walk around Sitia won’t take you more than a few hours. Its main point of interest is the thirteenth century fortress overlooking the town. You can make your way up in a brisk ten minutes, just choose one of the many residential streets with their stone steps, whitewashed houses and potted plants.
4. Kazarma Fortress, September 2012. The ultimate survivor, Kazarma Fortress has brushed off Venetian occupation, a great earthquake and a bloody Turkish invasion over the years. Today you’ll find nothing more than a perfect silence, a sea breeze and stunning views across the town and bay. I remember it being unspeakably hot up there, thank god for that tree.
5. Hillside Cemetery, September 2012. While you’re up on the top of the hill, don’t miss this gorgeous little cemetery, the perfect place for reflection and yet more breathtaking views. It’s clearly a cherished spot for the locals, with impeccably kept graves, trimmed trees, manicured bushes and fresh flowers.
Like this? Have a look at my other 5s from around Crete.